It’s a warm summer afternoon but not too warm for a high school football scrimmage. Players dressed in drab, unmarked jerseys run plays in quick succession.
Blue team runs the ball downfield, white team defends. Blue team cannot score, white team goes to offense.
As the Crenshaw high school football team changes from offense to defense--clean blue jerseys replacing dirty ones--one player walks toward the sideline, turns, and walks back to the center of the field.
A Crenshaw lineman points to the player and proudly says “Yeah, man. That’s the Glove. He’s a hitter.”
So it goes for Anthony Glover, the Glove, Crenshaw’s outside linebacker-tight end and designated hitter. But defense is his specialty. He was All-Central City at it last year. “I like to hit,” he says.
At 6 feet 3 inches and 210 pounds, Glover hits hard. But his height hides his weight. Defending against the pass, Glover resembles nothing more than a tall safety, roaming the defensive backfield. Unsuspecting receivers learn that Glover hits with the power of an experienced lineman.
“I like the run, better,” Glover said.
Why? No surprise: “Because you get to hit more,” he said.
Crenshaw Coach David Frierson said: “Glover is a good linebacker against the run and the pass. He’s a recognized player around the city. We’re looking for him to be a catalyst, a real team leader.”
Glover is not outspoken. Rather, he is shy and polite. He leads by example, as is evident by the praise from his teammates.
“He is very good against the run,” Frierson said. “He gets to the ball quickly.”
“Anthony has been contacted by several major universities,” Frierson continued, proudly. “They all have shown a lot of interest in him.”
Frierson’s words sound like the standard line issued by most coaches about good players, and Glover seemed reserved about college recruitment. But indeed, Arizona, USC and UCLA are interested in Glover.
“Yeah, they all send me mail,” Glover said. “I don’t know if I get more from one college or another.”
Frierson said: “One thing that is important is that Glover is a good student. He should have no problem going to whatever college he chooses.”
That takes care of the future. But being one of the top defensive players in the City does not ease Glover’s responsibility on offense. Frierson calls Glover a second-string tight end, but his play in last Thursday’s scrimmage against Locke indicated that he will be seeing quite a bit of time on offense.
Although Frierson speaks confidently about this season--"I’m used to winning. I have a lot of talent."--Crenshaw is coming off a 6-5 season, and play in the 4-A Pacific league is not going to get any easier. A player with the size and talent of Glover may be needed on both sides to stay with teams such as Banning, Carson and Gardena, all in the Pacific.
“There’s no way to get around (Banning and Carson),” Frierson said. “It’s going to be tough, but I think we can beat them. Besides, Anthony hasn’t had a chance to play them.”
True, Glover missed some of last year with injuries, including the Banning and Carson games, both of which Crenshaw lost. But Glover is again quietly confident about facing two of the winningest teams in the state.
Intimidated? “No. No way,” he responded. Confident? “Yeah. I think we can beat them. We play Banning for our homecoming, so we’ll be really up for that game. I’m looking forward to that game.”
Glover’s weight says he may not be big enough to play linebacker in college. He hesitantly mentioned that one college spoke to him about playing free safety. He would much rather play outside linebacker. And his frame has not yet filled out.
“He doesn’t even lift weights,” Frierson said. “He’ll grow up right with all that good college food and stuff.”